Well, that was a fun game. The Senators rolled out the same lineup that lost their season opener to Nashville on Thursday, with the exception being Robin Lehner starting over Craig Anderson, and followed a similar trend to start. However, instead of collapsing in the third period, the Senators came out with a ton of energy and carried the play, making up for their dismal second period, and potted two goals en route to a shootout victory. The entire shootout can be seen here via SensTV.
Like Thursday night, the Senators had a strong first period, despite a Victor Hedman powerplay marker, but tailed off drastically in the second. Robin Lehner stopped all 18 shots he faced that period to give the Senators a chance in the third. Right off the draw, Clarke MacArthur broke into the Lightning zone with speed and drew a penalty for the Senators, leading to some momentum that culminated in an Erik Karlsson goal off a sweet feed from Alex Chiasson to bring the Senators within one. Mark Stone, the recipient of a Kyle Turris pass after the aforementioned MacArthur won another puck battle, deked out former-Sen Ben Bishop and gave the Senators their first lead of the night. Brett Connolly responded for the Lightning off of a neutral zone miscue and a lost Jared Cowen puck battle, ending in the latter being benched for the remainder of the game. The Senators didn't give in though, and had multiple chances to win the game in overtime via a breakaway chance by Alex Chiasson, and a Karlsson shot ringing off the post. Speedy forward Tyler Johnson had a chance to win the game for the Lightning as well, but missed the net. In the shootout, both Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad beat Bishop with calm, high wrist shots, and Lehner held his ground by only conceding a goal to Nikita Kucherov and stopping Steven Stamkos to beat his former teammate and get the Senators two points.
Hedman's first period powerplay marker came through a screen, similar to the Alex Chiasson goal (off a similar Cody Ceci shot) that I broke down earlier in the week, so I'll leave that one for now. In the interest of time and space, I'll look at one Senators goal for, and one goal against
Erik Karlsson (third period - assists from Alex Chiasson and Bobby Ryan)
Jared Cowen (far right) sends the puck off the boards, where it's received by Bobby Ryan (bottom left corner), who does a good job corralling the bouncing puck.
He's then pressured by two Lightning players - Namestikov, and Gudas (D), and ends up sending the puck into the middle of the ice. Here we see Erik Karlsson jump - take a look at where he starts accelerating from. The puck is right by Ryan's left skate.
This is a pretty sweet reception of the puck here at high speed. You can also see that Chiasson (RW at the red line) is ahead of the puck and sees Karlsson retrieve it. You can also see Radko Gudas realize that he's made a terrible mistake and come to the realization that there's no catching Karlsson.
Karlsson's first three or four strides are incredible, and you can see how far Gudas is behind. Karlsson actually accelerates ahead of Chiasson here, and the duo have a nice gap created between them and the lone defender to try a little set play. I'm sure that Ottawa knows that to beat Ben Bishop, you're going to have to get him to move laterally or have a perfect shot, so they go for the lateral movement.
Here's the backhand dish to Chiasson, who is looking for the pass back all the way and threads the puck through the gap nicely. Gudas is too far back for his stick to reach the puck. Bishop is caught moving laterally and has no chance on this one.
Here it is in gif. format (s/t to @aaront) so you can get a visual of Karlsson's speed.
Brett Connolly (third period - assist to Brian Boyle)
Right after the Senators had taken the lead via a Mark Stone goal, Tampa Bay comes right back in and capitalizes on a defensive miscue to tie it up.
Karlsson (top right) had just circled back with the puck and sees no options except a Sens player on the left wing boards, past the red line. Instead of backing up into his zone with control of the puck, Karlsson is pressured by the Lightning forward and attempts the pass through the middle of the ice.
The pass is read nicely by Brian Boyle, who signed in Tampa during the offseason. The two Senators forwards, who were too far up to receive the pass - widening the gap between defense and forward - realize that the puck has been intercepted and begin to circle back. Boyle has to wait for Connolly to get onside, and decides to take a longer route to enter the zone through the right wing boards, where Jared Cowen is deeply situated at the moment.
Here we see Cowen and MacArthur weakly challenge Boyle along the boards, who then sends the puck to a Connolly (not yet in the frame) while the mid-slot forward, picked up by both Karlsson and MacArthur, crashes the net to create some traffic.
Because everyone is caught puck watching, no one picks up Connolly, who gets his shot off quickly. Connolly was a high first round pick a few years back and a noted goal scorer in the AHL. He actually times this right as the forward and MacArthur screen Lehner to beat the Swede high (see gif). There are two issues here: 1) the Senators are puck watching and not identifying the opposing players on the ice quick enough, and 2) the lost puck battle doesn't help, as Turris was positioned high in the zone to provide Cowen with an option if he had won the battle, and is unable to check Connolly fast enough. Cowen, having lost his battle, proceeds to battle Boyle even though the puck is long off of his stick.
Sens Hero: Captain Erik Karlsson
The Captain (this will still take some getting used to) had a fantastic game tonight for the Senators, who were lost without him on the ice. He won multiple puck battles, helped the Senators advance out of their zone cleanly, and attacked the opposition with his gamebreaking speed. Y'know, usual Karlsson stuff.
Karlsson steps up and channels his inner Borowiecki. GIF: http://t.co/1VWMpbSism— Jack Leiper. (@SensUnofficial) October 11, 2014
Corsi? Check, as with Karlsson on the ice, the Senators had 25 shot attempts for and 15 against (62.5 CF%), compared to 21 shot attempts for and 35 against with #65 not on the ice (37.5 CF%) at even strength. An interesting note: Karlsson didn't play the most minutes tonight for the Senators, as that honour actually belongs to Chris Phillips (~27 mins). This could be for a couple reasons, including the fact that Karlsson played with almost every left defenseman a ton tonight, and due to Cowen's noticeable struggles. Phillips was also caught on the ice for a couple of extended shifts early on, which could've boosted his ice-time. I don't expect this to be a regular thing by all means - nor will the Senators continue to win if that's the case.
Sens Hero: Mika Zibanejad
Mikachu was somewhat invisible against Nashville, but looked fantastic tonight, especially in the first. His added size works well on the forecheck when he attacks defenders with speed, which both Zibanejad and linemate Alex Chiasson did tonight, with most of their minutes against Steven Stamkos, to win the possession battle. ALSO THIS -
Sens Hero: Clarke MacArthur
The Senators first line didn't do all that well in the possession numbers with the bulk of their minutes against the Johnson, Filppula and Killorn, but had multiple chances and won a fair amount of puck battles in the offensive zone. MacArthur could've had 2 or 3 goals tonight, and actually almost scored in the second but was whistled down for being offside. This was pretty questionable, as you can see for yourself here (via @SensUnofficial) and if the chances keep coming, he'll start to produce soon. His won battle contributed to Mark Stone's goal midway through the third.
Sens Hero: Robin Lehner
As alluded to earlier, the Lehner was fantastic tonight. I thought he was very patient in net, with strong lateral movement, and withstood multiple barrages (lightning strikes?) in the second period to keep the Senators in the game. I don't know if he'll start Monday against the Panthers, as Anderson also had a strong game in Nashville (3 goals against on 18 chances), but I know that I'd go with Lehner.
Sens Zero: Jared Cowen
Don't be fooled by his decent CF% numbers, as Cowen was at 40% away from Erik Karlsson. He had noticeable issues with the puck tonight, in the form of handling and advancing it out of the defensive zone, and his brutal effort on Connolly's third period marker led to his benching, as you'll see below. (shiftchart from War On Ice - Cowen is the last player with red bars)
Lastly, B_T's donut for tonight.
Thanks for reading!